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Japan antitrust probe to target Amazon, Rakuten and beyond

Online mall operators are suspected of placing unfair burden on vendors

Amazon Japan's reward program is under scrutiny for suspected antitrust practices.

TOKYO -- Japanese antitrust authorities are set to launch a probe into Amazon Japan, Rakuten and Yahoo Japan, all suspected of forcing online vendors into shouldering an unfair burden in rewarding customers through loyalty programs, Nikkei has learned.

The Fair Trade Commission is looking into changes in Amazon Japan's reward program taking effect in late May that would require vendors to shoulder the cost. The regulator will also examine similar systems at Rakuten and Yahoo Japan that are paid for by sellers. Such arrangements essentially cut into vendors' revenue, on top of the fees they already pay to platforms.

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